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Living Loz
Call to Me 
20th-Mar-2011 01:44 pm
Title: Call to Me
Fandom: Life on Mars
Rating: PG
Word Count: 650 words.
Notes: Gen, written for the 'background' challenge at 1973flashfic. Title from the Thomas Hardy poem 'The Voice'.
Summary: The voices started on Tuesday.

The voices started on Tuesday. At first he thought it was a practical joke. Phyllis would have told the others about his strange obsession with broken radios at some point, she wasn't built for secrets, and someone --- probably Ray, maybe Gene --- would think it hi-fucking-larious to mock him.

They were quiet, to begin with. The voices. Background noise, really. Just one or two internal musings from those closest to him. Innocuous things that were more amusing than anything else.

'Should I order the number fifteen or the number seven?'

'He looks a right pillock in that vest.'

'So, I make a loop and tie the lace around, then somehow pull the other part of the lace through the gap. No, it's... can't do anything right... I'll use two loops. Two loops is easier.'

When everyone had gone home, Sam looked for the broadcasting devices, but couldn't find them. Seemed his training and development sessions in surveillance and espionage had had some uses. He was almost impressed.

It got louder on Wednesday. Enough that Sam graduated to pressing his palms against his ears. There were more voices, from more people. People he didn't even know. It was on Wednesday that he began to realise that the joke wasn't being made by any of his colleagues. The voices continued unabated, no matter his actions.

'Cocky little bastard thinks he knows everything.'

'Seventeen plus nineteen is...'

'...and every step I take takes me further from heaven...'

This was when worry crept up on Sam and grabbed him in a stranglehold.

He tried to dull the sound with alcohol. It didn't work. The voices just became less coherent, more fluid, louder, like they were screaming for an attention that was being denied. Sam looked at his co-workers, glasses in hand. Thought about thinking being ignored. It made sense.

"You're looking green about the gills," Gene said, laden with attitude. "I warn you, if you even contemplate sicking up on my loafers, you'll have one of them so far up your arse you'll write odes to the wonders of reincarnated regurgitation."

'I'll give him two more minutes and if he's still worse for wear, I'm taking him home. Reckon I could fit another three in if I try hard enough.'

On Thursday, Sam wasn't going to get out of bed, thinking he'd be safe, but the voices amplified. Sam struggled to hear himself over the din.

'the world is expects me to pay thirteen pounds for that, I ask you disintegrating, the clouds look dark, gonna rain walls are screaming, screaming, all this screaming, shut it tumbling down'

The bed wasn't safe, but he couldn't escape it, because, because, because...

Late on Thursday, there was some kind of crash in amongst the words. Something warm and solid hoisted him out of bed. He opened his eyes to see a mouth opening from having been pressed into a straight, thin line, and then there was just shouting.


"Sam? Sam, can you hear me? You need to drink some water. Stop talking and drink, you're not making any sense."

There was the sting of a slap, and her next door was annoyed about the plumbing, the bloke upstairs had run out of milk, there was a man walking down the street who'd been stood up, and Gene, Gene was just worried, but there was nothing to be concerned about, was there, because he wasn't real and real things couldn't feel concern.

On Friday, Sam stared up at the hospital ceiling, listening to pain and death.

'I wish... the dark... ten milligrams... more sheet cleaning... it hurts, it hurts, it hurts... pen's stopped... woman much missed... is this it... he'll have me strung up... god, that's disgus... he'll never know how I... the end.'

There was no Saturday.

20th-Mar-2011 04:25 am (UTC)
*jaw drops* This is absolutely chilling and amazing stuff.

So many perfect touches, but I loved the Roxy Music lyric and the crash in amongst the words and "her next door".


*but loves that it's a fanfic inspired by Thomas Hardy, how awesome is that?*
20th-Mar-2011 01:18 pm (UTC)
Thank you :D ♥

I love Hardy's poetry --- more than his novels, which makes me an odd duck in the world of literary criticism. Also, you win for picking up the lyric!
20th-Mar-2011 06:19 am (UTC)
This is AMAZING and so sad.
20th-Mar-2011 01:17 pm (UTC)
♥ Thank you!
20th-Mar-2011 07:15 am (UTC)
This feels horrifyingly possible in the show's universe; a sort escalation and ultimate disintegration of what's gone before.
Very effective.
20th-Mar-2011 01:17 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I thought it was scarily plausible too.
20th-Mar-2011 09:10 am (UTC)
Ooooh, spooky. I really like this. <3
20th-Mar-2011 01:17 pm (UTC)
Thanks :D >:)
(Deleted comment)
20th-Mar-2011 01:16 pm (UTC)
Thank you :D ♥ The Voice is one of my favourite poems.
20th-Mar-2011 12:46 pm (UTC)
This is so sad. What starts out seeming almost innocuous becomes tragically dark. Poor Sam
20th-Mar-2011 01:15 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much!
20th-Mar-2011 02:00 pm (UTC) - Heh. Trust me to, when I finally get my courage up to read one of your fics again, ...
... to pick one my tiny brain's too limited to understand. :D

This sounds good - but I didn't understand it at all. Maybe I'm having my stupid five minutes. I'll try again later. Maybe I just need to reread it a few more times.

(But, hey! I read a fic of yours and it *didn't* make me feel as if I should just ditch the whole writing thing! So that's good. Of course, it *did* make me feel as if I'm just too stupid to live... but I can live with that better than I could live with feeling like I should ditch writing. *snerk*)
20th-Mar-2011 02:03 pm (UTC) - Re: Heh. Trust me to, when I finally get my courage up to read one of your fics again, ...
Sam can hear the thoughts of everyone around him, either because a) he actually can't, he's just going nuts, or b) he's created the constructs in the first place and for whatever reason (my personal thought is complacency), they're unravelling before him.
20th-Mar-2011 10:49 pm (UTC) - Re: Heh. Trust me to, when I finally get my courage up to read one of your fics again, ...
Nooooooooooooo! You're not supposed to explain it to me!

Dammit, now I'll never know if I could have figured it out. I mean, perhaps it really was just because I'd barely slept last night etc.? (I do kind of think, most of the time, that I'm not entirely stupid, and hey, I was just hired to teach at a university, but...)
20th-Mar-2011 10:52 pm (UTC) - Re: Heh. Trust me to, when I finally get my courage up to read one of your fics again, ...
Um. okay.
20th-Mar-2011 11:00 pm (UTC) - Sorry. *sheepish*
But, really, I meant to read it again when I was more awake and all, and having a clever fic explained to you is a bit like having a joke explained: it kinda takes the fun out of it.

Also, I feel like I can't really give you any proper feedback now, because I can't really judge whether the fic might have worked for me. I kinda would have liked to be able to say, "heyyyyyyy, I *get* it now. This is awesome!" :-(

I do like the idea of it, that much I can say.

20th-Mar-2011 11:02 pm (UTC) - Re: Sorry. *sheepish*
Oh, yeah, and I *love* the last line. Especially now that I understand what's happening in the fic.
20th-Mar-2011 02:38 pm (UTC)
Chilling. Disturbing. With a side of spooky. And brilliant. :) Kudos, this is excellent!

(On a side note, you are not the only one who prefers Hardy's poetry to his novels. Are you in my brain AGAIN? Granted, I've only actually read one of his novels, but I adore his poetry. I nearly worked one of them into an assignment for Biological Anthro last week, before I thought better of it. XD)
21st-Mar-2011 02:07 am (UTC)
Thank you ♥

OMG. This has to stop :D :D :D
(Deleted comment)
21st-Mar-2011 02:08 am (UTC)
Thank you :D
20th-Mar-2011 04:05 pm (UTC)

That was...not a comfortable read. You really do have an unparalleled gift for digging into the most cracked parts of Sam's psyche, and the progression here is just horrific, in the best way.

21st-Mar-2011 02:09 am (UTC)
Thank you. It's been so long since I wrote psychological horror, and really, beyond the buddy cop and the slash and the PWP, I think this is my true genre when it comes to LoMfic.
21st-Mar-2011 01:18 am (UTC)
'So, I make a loop and tie the lace around, then somehow pull the other part of the lace through the gap. No, it's... can't do anything right... I'll use two loops. Two loops is easier.'

I desperately want to know who's thinking that xD My bet is on Chris but part of me wants it be Gene as well (I remember him fumbling over that bowtie in A2A and that's probably what I'm projecting).

The first part seemed light hearted but wow that last line! I wonder if it had been left at '...the end.' if I would have still gotten it.
21st-Mar-2011 02:11 am (UTC)
Yeah, I was thinking Chris, but feel free to have it as Gene if you like :D

Thank you!
21st-Mar-2011 05:24 am (UTC)
This was brillant, spooky stuff.
22nd-Mar-2011 12:02 pm (UTC)
>:) Thanks!
21st-Mar-2011 11:51 am (UTC)
And I thought the crash amongst the words was going to FIX things.
No such luck.

Gaaaahhhh... so dark! I can't contemplate writing anything like this - it's hard enough to read! Brilliant.
22nd-Mar-2011 12:03 pm (UTC)
I have to admit, I sometimes miss writing darkfic. I used to do it more regularly. Thank you :D
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